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Healthcare Insights From Our Leaders play_circle_outline

Healthcare Insights From Our Leaders: Paul S. Johnson, SVP & President of Patient Support Systems

You know your company homepage highlights advancing connected care rather than hospital beds. Can you tell us about Hillrom’s vision there and some of the key strategies you guys are working with to sort of support this vision?

Yeah, it's a great story and it needs to be told you know. Hillrom is a fantastic company. Many people know Hillrom because of our hospital beds. The company was founded in 1915, so we've been in healthcare for over 100 years. However, Hillrom does so much more and I would say the last eight years I've lived through the transformation of the company.  

We've really grown and transformed into a global medical technology company and I think a lot of people would be surprised that what was our largest business for US, you know, medical surgical beds - essentially patient care rooms and hospital beds is only about 10% of the total company and we do many other things across a lot of different sites of care. Physician office acute care and hospitals. Of course, the OR in the surgery environment and at home health, and I'd say over the last four years we've really accelerated our digital health.  


Can you talk about Hillrom's growth initiatives with that through acquisitions and how these have supported the company strategy initiatives? 

Yeah, I'll give you a great example specifically in my business - the patient Support Systems business.  

Where you know if you were to look back at, you know the hospital bed market only 20 years ago you may have had our customers view us as providing beds and in some ways you know thought of it as furniture providing care for patients obviously very valuable. But just within the last 20 years, and more recently, these hospital beds are not even anything close to furniture. They're horizontal monitoring systems. We're using smart bed technology and sensors, and what we've created is a digital ecosystem across all of our products. And today we're really one of the few companies, maybe the only one, that can provide a smart bed that has real time contact-free continuous heart rate and respiratory rate monitoring coming out of the bed.  

The bed sends those vital signs through a middleware solution through the cloud, and we're using clinical workflow software and some basic artificial intelligence so that our clinicians can view this information in real time. Then, either in a status board in a central location, or even on-the-go on a smartphone, we have an alarm manager product that's helping really filter the highest priority alerts and notifications that need to get to the caregivers. Hopefully to save the patient's life before it's too late and a lot of the work we've been doing with our product development and new acquisitions have really been fortifying that ecosystem.  


Can you talk even more about where you're seeing digital health emerge? 

What we're seeing is the need for our customers are telling us this. They need solutions to solve complex problems and we know that, for example, patient deterioration is about a $20 billion problem in just the US alone. Non reimbursed injuries in patient falls about $2 billion. Non reimbursed. And in patients dealing with pressure injuries, is a $10 billion problem just in the US alone. Again non reimbursed.  

We know these are problems and we always start with the customer and the patient first. We believe that between these smart devices - the middleware, the medical device integration solution, and then having really clinical analytics and software collecting the information that matters provides intelligent insights to caregivers at the point of care in a mobile environment so they can, in a very stressed environment manage a complex set of patients and the workflow demands.  

And so, bringing together all those solutions in an open environment, we also recognize that not every customer is going to have 100% Hillrom products. So a lot of this middleware and real time analysis capability has to be built on an open platform and talk to Hillrom products as well. 


What do you see in the future? What will be your most important areas of focus in the next three to five years? And how do you see this vision of advancing connected care evolving?  

Well, it's all interconnected. You know, we've touched on some of these. I would say first within acute care. You know, within the hospital environment, the digital transformation is well underway, so bringing together smart devices, data and analytics middleware, Clinical communications all at the point of care that's well underway and Hillrom is advancing their advances and connected care business.  

And we're a big player in that space, and so a lot of effort is going there and expanding outside.  

The US into international markets. So that would be, you know, one set of action.  

The other is where do we go beyond that? We think home health is actually a space where we can. Again, I mentioned earlier with COVID and the need for more Telehealth and remote health. We're just seeing that as a trend that's going to continue to grow and we believe Hillrom has a role to play there.  

I think you're going to see a lot more excitement and innovation and disruption in this space, and I think the consumerism piece of that will play a big role as we go forward.